Old Faithful, the famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park, may fall silent after erupting continuously for nearly 800 years, experts have found.
According to a newly published study, researchers have found more than 40 remains of mineralized wood near the geyser, dating from 1233 to 1362 AD, a period associated with “severe decades of regional droughts.” Experts believe that these severe droughts may recur until the middle of this century, as a result of which the eruptions of the geyser are reduced or stopped altogether.
“Climate models predict increasingly severe droughts by the middle of the 21st century, suggesting that geyser eruptions may become less frequent or stop altogether,”
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According to LiveScience, researchers have found that the interval between eruptions of Old Faithful has increased significantly. In the 1950s, the intervals were between 60 and 65 minutes. Since 2001, the intervals have increased between 90 and 94 minutes.
In an interview with Science, lead author of the study, Shaul Hurwitz, said the discovery of the mineralized wood samples led to an “aha” moment, as he found that they were all from about the same time period.
“When I submitted the radiocarbon dating samples, I didn’t know if they would be hundreds or thousands of years old,” Hurwitz said in an interview. It was aha! “A moment when they all came together over a hundred-year period in the 13th and 14th centuries. “
Currently, the area where the geyser is located has no trees due to the hot, alkali-rich discharge from it.
The study is published in Geophysical Research Letters.
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